David Duchovny is a terribly underrated comic actor, and the late great “X-Files” was never better than when they took a break from the conspiracy theories and just let him loose with dry sarcasm in the monster-of-the-week episodes. In that vein, we’ve got The Joneses, a film getting a limited release in April and starring David Duchovny along with Demi Moore, Amber Heard, and Ben Hollingsworth as his fake family. An ad agency pays them to move into a neighborhood and systematically product place throughout their mock lives, driving up sales by starting trends among the upper trendsetters. One can probably poke all sorts of holes in how cost effective this might be, but it also rings with just enough insane plausibility that you’d be willing to believe an ad agency would actually do it.
The success of The Joneses will depend entirely on whether they’re willing to let it go full bore darkly funny, or whether they’ll bow to the inevitable idiot test audiences and focus on the “gosh let’s fall in love and be a real family” vibe that’s lurking ominously in the more mediocre corners of that trailer.
Of course, I cannot watch that trailer without thinking of the old “X-Files” episode “Arcadia,” in which Mulder and Scully go under cover in a murderously strict gated community. If Duchovny puts up a hideous windmill mailbox and tells Demi Moore to make him a sandwich, Chris Carter’s gonna need some royalties.